We’ll kick off today’s rundown with a story not by the Daily Mail’s statehouse crew, but city reporter extraordinaire Paul Fallon. He reports today that two prominent Charleston Republicans, Mayor Danny Jones and City Council President Tom Lane, are breaking ranks with their party to oppose a bill that would take away the city’s rights to set up its own gun ordinances.
“We’re not so much about philosophy on the city level,” Jones said. “I’m for Charleston. I’m on this earth for my kids and this city, and that’s it.”
The bill would be “bad for the city,” Jones said. “This law will allow the flow of guns and drugs in and out of our city to increase.”
House Bill 2558 would strip a grandfather clause from a 1999 law that prohibited cities and counties from restricting a wide array of gun rights. Charleston had passed a law in 1993 limiting handgun purchases to one per person per month.
The city ordinance also requires a 72-hour waiting period on a handgun purchase as well as background checks. It prohibits the purchase of a handgun by a person convicted of a felony and by someone deemed by a court to be mentally defective.
Charleston passed the ordinance because of a rash of gun violence in the city, Lane said. Lane, a lawyer, helped draft the bill, and shepherded its passage through council.
Yesterday I wrote (and blogged) about President Barack Obama‘s picks to head the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy, Gina McCarthy and Ernest Moniz, respectively.
McCarthy currently is assistant administrator for the EPA’s air and radiation office. Moniz is an MIT professor and President Bill Clinton‘s former energy chief. Moniz’s appointment didn’t seem to get anyone’s blood pumping, but at least two members of West Virginia’s congressional delegation are not happy Obama picked McCarthy.
(Rep. Shelley Moore) Capito said she is “disappointed, but not surprised” by Obama’s pick of McCarthy. She said McCarthy was the driving force behind the EPA’s regulations against coal, including the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule.
“President Obama has decided to double down on his job killing policies by nominating Gina McCarthy as EPA Administrator,” Capito wrote. “This nomination represents a missed opportunity for the President to chart a new course that balances environmental regulations with the need for jobs in our local communities.”
Rep. Nick Rahall, a Democrat, said in a statement the EPA would be better suited by an “outside voice … rather than an Agency insider.”
“The outgoing head of the EPA took direct aim at coal miners’ jobs and circumvented Congress, targeting and wreaking havoc on the Appalachian economy,” he said.
In other news, Del. Tim Miley, D-Harrison, has joined House Speaker Rick Thompson in encouraging Beretta to move its manufacturing operations to the Mountain State. As Dave reports, Miley says it was originally his idea. It’s the old question of “Who shot first?”
Miley’s letter says he notified Thompson of the Beretta situation and sent him a copy of an article in The Washington Post.
“Speaker Thompson was not aware of Beretta’s possible relocation until I sent him a similar request and he has quickly ‘grabbed the bull by the horns’ and has made efforts to contact Beretta directly,” Miley writes in his letter to the governor.
Also yesterday, Dave reported that members of the House Republican Caucus were “extremely disappointed” Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin backed out of a commitment to discuss education reform with them Monday.
Del. Patrick Lane, R-Kanawha, said Tomblin staff members approached Republican House leadership late last week to set up a discussion about Tomblin’s education reform bill. The GOP agreed to caucus — a private meeting for certain groups of legislators, typically created along party lines — with Tomblin at 4 p.m. Monday.
Tomblin let Republicans know around noon Monday he would not be able to make it, Lane said. With most of the House GOP’s 46 members campaigning on education reform, Lane said he thinks his party-mates could favor some of the governor’s ideas.
“I think the right proposals probably have 46 votes from the GOP, but I’m not sure those votes are going to be there if we don’t have someone come talk with us or at least honor their commitment and show up and answer questions,” Lane said Monday afternoon.
Tomblin’s office says the governor did not back out on the Republican caucus, but had to cancel because of a scheduling conflict.